A Functional Approach to Hoshimoto's Disease
Similar to other autoimmune diseases, Hashimoto's occurs when the body is attempting to defend itself against something possibly dangerous, such as bacteria, virus, toxin, or a food protein, but it doesn't differentiate properly between the "danger" and your own body.
Typically, Hoshimoto's causes underactive thyroid symptoms, but on occasion it may cause a person to fluctuate between underactive and overactive thyroid symptoms due to the nature of the damage to the thyroid tissue. The conventional approach to Hoshimoto's is to prescribe thyroid hormone, monitor hormone levels in the blood, and adjust the dose of the hormone accordingly as the thyroid continues to lose function until it eventually "burns out".
The functional approach focuses on identifying Hoshimoto's as an immune disease that is affecting the thyroid, not really a thyroid disease. Therefore, the immune system must be addressed in order to successfully modulate Hoshimoto's and enjoy a better quality of life. I like to look at the fundamentals when addressing Hoshimotos:
Adjusting the Diet
Remove gluten from the diet and identify other food sensitivities. Gluten is a very common allergy among Americans and can be directly responsible for a thyroid problem. Once trigger foods are removed, the gut and any other barrier tissue that may by inflamed and "leaky", such as the lungs or the brain, can begin to heal. Intestinal barrier integrity is very important in an autoimmune disease. When this barrier becomes too permeable, undigested particles of food, bacteria, parasites, mold, or environmental toxins are able to cross over into the body.
Address Nutrients Required for Health
Often time's patients with Hoshimoto's are deficient in specific nutrients, such as Vitamin D and Selenium. Selenium functions as an integral part of glutathione peroxidase, an important antioxidant enzyme, and is required for normal thyroid function.
Another requirement for normal thyroid function is vitamin A. The thyroid cannot manufacture thyroid hormones if there is insufficient vitamin A available.
Identify/Heal Infections in the Body
Hoshimoto's has been associated with a variety of infectious agents such as Rubella, Epstein-Barr virus, Retrovirus, Influenza B virus, and Yersinia. A trained nutritionist can identify which infection is the culprit.
Managing stress can't be emphasized enough. Stress does many things to upset the immune system as well as the adrenals. Stress suppresses healthy immune functions, promotes inflammation, promotes imbalances of the immune system, creates problems with the gut lining, and puts additional strain on the adrenals. Addressing stress and supporting the adrenals is a very important part of the healing process for anyone with an autoimmune disease.
Last but not least, is to support the thyroid as well as the pituitary and hypothalamus. One of the reasons people continue to feel exhausted even though they are taking thyroid hormones is because of an out of balance Hypothalamus Pituitary Axis.
Treatment of an auto-immune disease is very complex and needs to be managed by a trained nutritionist. A nutritionist will be able to tell which group of white blood cells is attacking the thyroid. Treating the wrong group of white blood cells could make matters worse, so it is best to let a trained nutritionist guide you.
Having a diagnosis of Hoshimoto's, or any other autoimmune thyroid disease, does not mean you have to suffer on-going symptoms. The ultimate aim when addressing an autoimmune disease is to restore balance to the immune system through addressing the fundamentals of healing the gut, addressing missing key nutrients, investigating and healing infections, managing stress, supporting the adrenals, and providing support for the thyroid, pituitary, and hypothalamus.
Quick Recovery Clinic specializes in the natural treatment of disease. The tools in our toolbox are:
Treating Thyroid Disease Naturally
April 2015 newsletter Lacy Waltermeyer, NTP
Nutritional Training Manager
Biotics Research NW, Inc.